March 26, 2005
People with Disabilities Speak for Terri
Schiavo Case: Disability Rights Issue! Let People With
"WE LOVE OUR TUBES!" Disabled Activists are Demonstrating in Florida.
Disability activists are returning to Florida to tell the simple truths about tubes, feeding tubes, breathing tubes, peeing tubes and other tubes we need and love. Disabled people in wheelchairs will demonstrate and explain the realities of everyday life with tubes, confronting society's obvious horror and revulsion with our dignity and disability pride.
Terri's feeding tube is the central issue. This is the reason she is being killed. Disability activists must express our ridicule for the pathetic response of the nondisabled majority to these simple pieces of latex rubber. This case hinges on the fact that Terri uses a feeding tube, which to disabled people is no big deal - it's just another piece of adaptive equipment.
"Right now the case is settled, people are thrown back on their own beliefs, while "experts" continue to present the story as a misbegotten political intervention in a private matter," said John Kelly of Boston Not Dead Yet, "a tragic medical case in which doctors are united in their certain diagnosis that nothing is going on inside her head , and a tragic family matter in which her "husband" really does want the best for her, which is death. And people agree -- and this is absolutely crucial -- because THEY THEMSELVES would rather be dead than like Terri Schiavo.
"We have been trained, over and over again, that if we only concealed our differences, tucked that legbag tube - for draining urine - under the pants leg, never talked about incontinence, that we could be (at least partially) accepted," Kelly continued. "But the shame that we are meant to bear keeps us down more effectively than anything that anyone could do to us."
"It's time for the press to talk to the real experts on the Schiavo case - the disability rights movement", declared Diane Coleman, president and founder of Not Dead Yet, leading the disability community's opposition to non-voluntary euthanasia for a decade."That's why 26 national disability rights organizations, including groups like Not Dead Yet, and CIL's, DQIA, and others have adopted a position in support of Terri Schiavo's right to continue to receive food and water," affirmed Stephen Drake, research analyst for NDY. "People on the right are killing us slowly with cuts to the budget and Medicaid while the people on the left kill us quickly and call it 'compassion' - either way we end up dead - AND WE OBJECT."
Not Dead Yet is a national disability rights organization that leads the disability community's efforts to oppose legalization of assisted suicide, euthanasia and other forms of medical killing.